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The frustrations of heaven's fragrance: an analysis and translation of Guan Hanqing's Qian dayin zhichong xie tianxiang

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This thesis examines the play Qian Dayin zhichong Xie Tianxiang, written by the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) playwright Guan Hanqing (c.1225-1302). The first chapter of this paper provides brief background information about northern style Yuan drama (zaju) as well as a

This thesis examines the play Qian Dayin zhichong Xie Tianxiang, written by the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) playwright Guan Hanqing (c.1225-1302). The first chapter of this paper provides brief background information about northern style Yuan drama (zaju) as well as a plot summary and notes about the analysis and translation. Through a close reading of the play, I hope to illustrate how the play's complicated ending and lack of complete resolution reveals why it has received relatively little attention from scholars who have previously discussed other strong, intelligent female characters in Guan Hanqing's plays. The second chapter of this thesis includes translation of the play that is comprised of a wedge preceding the four acts. Before each act of the play is a critical introduction and analysis of the act to follow. Although many of Guan Hanqing's plays have been translated into English, this play has never been translated.

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2011

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Space of Imagination, Beauty, and Romance: Yuan Sanqu’s Representation of Female Imagery of the Pleasure Quarters

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This dissertation explores the representation of female imagery associated with the Yuan pleasure quarters by examining a reservoir of Yuan sanqu. Previous scholarship has studied this topic using either historical material or zaju drama texts but has more or less

This dissertation explores the representation of female imagery associated with the Yuan pleasure quarters by examining a reservoir of Yuan sanqu. Previous scholarship has studied this topic using either historical material or zaju drama texts but has more or less ignored the voluminous corpus of sanqu. Furthermore, scholarly inquiries of Yuan sanqu either have emphasized its development from the Song ci lyrical tradition or its colloquial features. In consequence, the complexity of sanqu as an independent literary genre has been neglected. Using the representation of female imagery of the pleasure quarters in Yuan sanqu as an entry point, on one hand, this dissertation examines the dynamics of this urban and textual space. On the other, it focuses on rarely-studied sanqu pieces and analyzes them in a new light. The pleasure quarters and the production of Yuan sanqu are closely related to each other. In particular, the pleasure quarters are both revealed through the creative process of sanqu and have established sanqu as a distinctive aesthetic experience. The first chapter will focus on women of the pleasure quarters from the perspective of their hierarchical distinctions in terms of beauty, performative nature, and desirability as companions. Chapter two discusses the representation of women of the pleasure quarters in Yuan sanqu. Distinctive from the exclusive focus on privileged outstanding courtesans in poetic and lyrical tradition, Yuan sanqu depicted women from different registers of pleasure quarters. Thus, the genre formulated a diverse picture of images, rhetoric, and modalities. Chapter three examines a major literary tradition mainly sustained by the Yuan sanqu tradition, which is the story of Shuang Jian and Su Xiaoqing. As one of the most important and widespread literary traditions at play during the Yuan, Yuan sanqu writers’ representation of this pleasure-quarters-based story manifests the fulness and diversity of Yuan sanqu as a distinctive literary genre. In the epilogue, I focus on a zaju script by Ma Zhiyuan and an anonymous song suite in relation to this story. By so doing, I intend to show how Yuan qu lyrics incorporated the poetic, lyrical, and dramatic traditions in a somewhat promiscuous way.

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2021

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Collaboration and Achievement: Wang Hui and His Artistic Exchange with Yun Shouping

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This dissertation studies the artist Wang Hui 王翬 (1632-1717) from the perspective of his friendship with Yun Shouping 惲壽平 (1633-1690). Both artists are famous for their paintings in the early Qing dynasty. The work of Wang Hui has received considerable

This dissertation studies the artist Wang Hui 王翬 (1632-1717) from the perspective of his friendship with Yun Shouping 惲壽平 (1633-1690). Both artists are famous for their paintings in the early Qing dynasty. The work of Wang Hui has received considerable scholarly attention. This dissertation, however, will take a new approach to his work. A major aspect of the research is to examine the collaborative work by Wang Hui and Yun Shouping and the inscriptions written by both of them as primary sources, in an attempt to illuminate the artist’s theory and practice of art. Far from denying the artist’s talent, the emphasis on friendship enriches the exploration of the artist’s possible perception which reinforced his expression through art and situates the artist in his time and place. With elegant gatherings, travels, in-depth discussions, and collaborative art creations, this close friendship amplified Wang Hui’s talent by way of mutual inspiration, and provided the artist with confirmation of his own views, as well as a source of different yet constructive opinions that only a close friend could give. There have been many studies of artists as individual geniuses. In contrast, this study offers the exploration of a friendship between artists that led to new accomplishments. By viewing the artist and his artwork from the perspective of artists’ interactions, I intend to describe and explain early modern painting-related activities in terms of their fundamental connection with human relationships. I argue that painting, especially in the formats and social functions developed in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, played an essential role in the lives of artists in the early modern period. By emphasizing perceptual experience and creative process, I intend to underline the deep connection between art and life.

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2021

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Silk and Sacrifice: Gender, Death, and Adaptation in Two Chinese Literary Traditions

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This dissertation explores the relationship between expressions of female virtue—predominantly chastity—and violence within two popular early Chinese literary traditions: Qiu Hu 秋胡 and Han Peng 韓朋. Both tales were in circulation by the Western Han (206 BCE–24 CE) and depict

This dissertation explores the relationship between expressions of female virtue—predominantly chastity—and violence within two popular early Chinese literary traditions: Qiu Hu 秋胡 and Han Peng 韓朋. Both tales were in circulation by the Western Han (206 BCE–24 CE) and depict husbands and wives torn apart by conflict—the victims of drama instigated by men—and ultimately end with the righteous suicides of their female leads. Testifying to their enduring popularity, these stories were adapted by poets and prose writers alike, including prominent figures such as Fu Xuan, Yan Yanzhi, Li Shangyin, and Shi Junbao, as well as unknown composers of works discovered at Dunhuang. The results of their labor—poems, prose, and even a Yuan dynasty (1279–1368) stage adaptation—demonstrate the flexibility of these traditions as a means of exploring contemporary concerns regarding female integrity and talent, the dangers of beauty, women’s roles in the family, as well as socio-economic issues. By providing the first study of the portrayal of women within these influential traditions across genre and time, this dissertation not only contributes to the understanding of both tales as elite representations of idealized femininity, but also highlights how such popular traditions were subject to competing pressures of social norms, genre, and audience expectation. By examining and contrasting these disparate works, this study argues that these traditions were less singular tales that owed their existence to any given work than they were a broad collection of topoi that could be shuffled into differing configurations to meet the need of a given author at a given moment.

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2021

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From Hangzhou to Lin'an: history, space, and the experience of urban living in narratives from Song Dynasty China

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This dissertation uncovers the contemporary impressions of Song cities represented in Song narratives and their accounts of the interplay between people and urban environments. It links these narratives to urban and societal changes in Hangzhou 杭州 (Lin’an 臨安) during the

This dissertation uncovers the contemporary impressions of Song cities represented in Song narratives and their accounts of the interplay between people and urban environments. It links these narratives to urban and societal changes in Hangzhou 杭州 (Lin’an 臨安) during the Song dynasty, cross-referencing both literary creations and historical accounts through a close reading of the surviving corpus of Song narratives, in order to shed light on the cultural landscape and social milieu of Hangzhou. By identifying, reconstructing, and interpreting urban changes throughout the “pre-modernization” transition as well as their embodiments in the narratives, the dissertation links changes to the physical world with the development of Song narratives. In revealing the emerging connection between historical and literary spaces, the dissertation concludes that the transitions of Song cities and urban culture drove these narrative writings during the Song dynasty. Meanwhile, the ideologies and urban culture reflected in these accounts could only have emerged alongside the appearance of a consumption society in Hangzhou. Aiming to expand our understanding of the literary value of Song narratives, the dissertation therefore also considers historical references and concurrent writings in other genres. By elucidating the social, spatial, and historical meanings embedded in a variety of Song narrative accounts, this study details how the Song literary narrative corpus interprets the urban landscapes of the period’s capital city through the private experiences of Song authors. Using a transdisciplinary methodology, it situates the texts within the cultural milieu of Song society and further reveals the connections of these narratives to the transformative process of urbanization in Song society.

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2017

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Engaging in Drama Criticism: Zang Maoxun and His Four New Musical Texts from the Jade Tea Hall

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This dissertation focuses on the corpus of Zang Maoxun’s literary creations in The Collection from the Fubao Hall and investigates his involvement in the cultural activities of the Jinling Poetry Society. Unearthing how Zang and this Society, as self and

This dissertation focuses on the corpus of Zang Maoxun’s literary creations in The Collection from the Fubao Hall and investigates his involvement in the cultural activities of the Jinling Poetry Society. Unearthing how Zang and this Society, as self and community, played an instrumental role in creating and sustaining a network of dramatists and drama critics in the Jiangnan region, a careful review of his poems and prose shows the extent to which text preparation, commentary, and printing were at the center of his communications with his social circle. Moreover, this dissertation unpacks Zang’s contribution to the promotion of dramatic texts through a thorough examination of his ardent editorial work in revising Tang Xianzu’s The Four Dream Plays from the Jade Tea Hall, the epitome of the southern musical drama. By using Zang’s 1618 Diaochong guan edition of his adaptations as a focal point, this dissertation compares it with three late Ming editions of Tang’s plays printed in the dual colors of red-and-black ink. In light of their innovative editorial designs, and the varying evaluations formed in their pages about Zang’s editorial work, this dissertation reveals the importance of Zang’s adaptations in the history of The Four Dream Plays’ textual transmission, as well as the interplay between the tradition of drama criticism and the new technology of multicolor printing and consequent innovation in editorial principles.

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2019

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Angry Men, Angry Women: Patience, Righteousness, and the Body in Late Imperial Chinese Literature

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So far, love and desire have preoccupied scholarly inquiries into the emotional landscape in late imperial China. However, the disproportional focus diminishes the complexity and interdisciplinarity of the emotional experiences during this period. Alternatively, this dissertation seeks to contextualize the

So far, love and desire have preoccupied scholarly inquiries into the emotional landscape in late imperial China. However, the disproportional focus diminishes the complexity and interdisciplinarity of the emotional experiences during this period. Alternatively, this dissertation seeks to contextualize the understudied emotion of anger and uses it as a different entry point into the emotional vista of late imperial China. It explores the stimuli that give rise to anger in late imperial Chinese fiction and drama, as well as the ways in which these literary works configure the regulation of that emotion. This dissertation examines a wide range of primary materials, such as deliverance plays, historical romance, domestic novels, and so forth. It situates these literary texts in reference to Quanzhen Daoist teachings, orthodox Confucian thought, and medical discourse, which prescribe the rootedness of anger in religious trials, ritual improprieties, moral dubiousness, and corporeal responses. Simultaneously, this dissertation reveals how fiction and drama contest the presumed righteousness of anger and complicate the parameters construed by the above-mentioned texts through editorial intervention, paratextual negotiation, and cross-genre adaptation. It further teases out the gendering of anger, particularly within the discourse on the four obsessions of drunkenness, lust, avarice, and qi. The emotion’s gendered dimension bears upon the approaches that literary imagination adopts to regulate anger, including patience, violence, and silence. The body of either the angry person or the target of his or her fury stands out as the paramount site upon which the diverse ways of coping with the emotion impinge. Ultimately, this dissertation enriches the current understanding of the emotional experiences in late imperial China and demonstrates anger as a prominent nodal point upon which various strands of discourse converge.

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2020